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Real-Time Industrial Materials Tracking Systems

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If you would prefer to talk to an expert about your specific work-in-process or materials tracking problem, please click on the [Contact Us] button below to contact us by phone or Email.  

  1. Who is KnarrTek? KnarrTek is a team of experts in the use of real-time Artificial Intelligence technologies for real-time inventory and operations tracking and management.

  2. What does KnarrTek do? KnarrTek provides the software and services to assist manufacturers and industrial distributors in the industrial, medical, food, and construction supply chains to track and manage their inventory and operations much more efficiently.

  3. How does KnarrTek improve inventory and operations tracking? KnarrTek enables organizations to transition from using paper forms and Excel spreadsheets to track their inventory and operations to using technologies such as barcode scanning and mobile computing for real-time data capture and mistake prevention.

  4. How does KnarrTek improve improve inventory and operations management? KnarrTek provides systems which ensure that all operations management stakeholders have the information they need to do their jobs efficiently, where and when they need it, in a format that is most useful. These systems integrate data from many sources and also provide Email and Text Message alerts to operations managers when there situations arise that they need to pay attention to.

  5. What Software does KnarrTek use for its operations tracking and management implementations? KnarrTek uses the BellHawk® real-time work-in-process, job and materials tracking software platform together with the the MilramX decision support and automated information exchange software platform to implement its solutions.

  6. Who are KnarrTek's Clients? KnarrTek's clients include manufacturers, industrial distributors, food and pharmaceutical processors, defense, construction, repair, and engineering organizations, as well as many other industrial organizations.

  7. How does KnarrTek deliver its Software? KnarrTek provides BellHawk on a software-as-a-service subscription basis on Windows Servers managed by KnarrTek at secure data centers in the USA. KnarrTek also rents licenses to use BellHawk and MilramX for installation on each client's own computers, as well as providing BellHawk-in-a-Box on a rental basis for installation at each client site..

  8. What is BellHawk-in-a-Box? This is where we install BellHawk on a ruggedized industrial computer, which is shipped to each site, complete with all needed software, by KnarrTek. These units are designed to be used over the site LAN, which ensures rapid response to barcode scans and label printing requests. The industrial computers, used for BellHawk-in-a-Box, can be rented, along with with remote support over the Internet, on an annual basis, as part of each client's software rental contract. One or more BellHawk-in-a-Box systems can then communicate with a Cloud-based ICOM system for centralized inventory tracking and operations management.

  9. What does the BellHawk software track? It tracks the receipt and put-away of raw materials, their transformation into intermediate materials and then finished products through a sequence of manufacturing or processing operations. In doing this, the KnarrTek DSS may track the progress of a work-order for a customer job as it progresses from operation to operation. It may also track work-in-process materials as they move from work-center to work-center and are transformed from raw materials into finished products. This may include tracking work-in-process materials as they are tested, reworked and possibly scrapped as well as the picking, packing, labeling, and shipping of finished products to customers.

  10. How does KnarrTek carry out BellHawk Implementation Projects? KnarrTek projects typically start with the implementation of a Pilot installation on a BellHawk Online server managed by KnarrTek. The starting point is typically a standard tracking system but may also be a WIPTracker custom grouping of BellHawk features. The client then tests the software and the staff of KnarrTek makes needed adjustments according to the needs of the client in an incremental Agile process  until the system meets the tracking need of the client. There is no charge for using the KnarrTek DSS  software until the resultant system is deployed operationally. Clients are expected, however, to incrementally pay for the support services they need during the Pilot test phase.

  11. How does KnarrTek carry out MilramX implementation projects? These are done using an agile methodology in a sequence of phases. Within each phase, a detailed design is produced for system improvements to meet the objectives to be achieved in the phase , along with an estimated cost and schedule. After approval by the client, the needed intelligent agents, custom screens and reports are implemented, typically by the staff of KnarrTek, followed by testing by the client, and subsequent Agile changes to the code.

  12. Who has used the KnarrTek software? A wide range of industrial organizations, including machine shops, rolled materials converters, plastic injection molders, fabricators of building components, engineering and defense contractors, contract manufacturers and other assemblers of electromechanical systems, as well as repair, refurbishing and recycling organizations. In addition this software has been used by a range of organizations that need to comply with FDA regulations including food and pharmaceutical processors, medical device and supplies manufacturers, and makers of veterinary products and natural supplements.

  13. Who is the target audience for the BellHawk Online services? BellHawk Online is primarily used for Pilot implementations. Smaller organizations, without an in-house IT department, may choose to keep using BellHawk Online, where they have ready access to BellHawk IT support. Larger organizations will typically deploy the Pilot implementation, when working, to their own servers in their own data center, where they have full control over the software, or choose to use a BellHawk-in-a-Box configuration

  14. What is the BellHawk software?  The BellHawk software platform was developed by Dr. Peter Green of Milramco LLC, in collaboration with other partners, to provide a software platform to enable manufacturing and industrial distribution organizations to rapidly implement customized work-in-process, job and materials tracking systems. KnarrTek Inc. is the sales and support organization for this software.

  15. What is the MilramX software? The MilramX software is a real-time automated information exchange and decision support software platform, which was developed by Dr. Peter Green of Milramco LLC in collaboration with a number of partners, as a way to cut the cost and speed the development time for implementing automated information integration systems.

  16. What is the Industrial Customer Order Management (ICOM) System? This is software, based on MilramX, which enables the automated, incremental translation of arriving customer orders into purchase orders, manufacturing work orders, as well as picking, packing, and shipping orders for one or more BellHawk systems, serving geographically distributed warehouses and manufacturing plants. These ICOM systems typically interact with CRM, ERP, accounting, and engineering design systems, as well as customer and supplier systems, to automate the flow of information related to customer orders.

  17. Who owns the intellectual property rights to the BellHawk, ICOM, and MilramX software? They are owned by Milramco LLC, which is owned the same management team as KnarrTek. They are in a separate company for legal and tax reasons.

  18. What is the typical cost savings from using the KnarrTek software? Typically clients save the equivalent of the cost of between one and three people at an average loaded labor cost of $60,000 per year per person by switching from using paper forms and manual keyboard data entry to using a BellHawk based system. Typically clients can save the cost of between one and three management or staff members, by using a MilramX based operations management system, at a loaded cost of at least $100,000 per year each.

  19. What other benefits does using a KnarrTek BellHawk system  have? This software enables clients to ensure that they get customer orders out on time, prevent operational mistakes, and to know the labor and materials cost of each job. In addition it captures materials traceability history data.

  20. What other benefits does using a KnarrTek MilramX system  have? This software enables clients to ensure that they do not make operational mistakes such as not having the needed inventory to hand or delivering customer orders late. MilramX based systems also assist with recruiting and retention of experienced management and staff by making their jobs easier and less stressful.

  21. Does KnarrTek sell its software and services directly or does it work through reseller partners? Both. KnarrTek typically works directly with the IT support staff of larger clients but refers smaller clients to one of its partners, who can provide the equipment and supplies, as well as on-site IT support that these organizations typically need.

  22. What about Support Services? KnarrTek and its partners offer a full range of supporting services but enable clients to save money by doing as much of the implementation work themselves as they have the capability to do.

  23. What about barcode scanners and printers and mobile devices? BellHawk  works with a wide range of Android based mobile devices, as well as with a wide range of 1D and 2D barcode scanners and barcode label printers. These are readily available from our partners or a wide range of other suppliers over the Internet.

  24. What about preprinted rolls of license-plate number barcodes, as well as rack and floor stand barcode labels? These are provided by our partners or we can make recommendations as to suppliers that can make these products to your specifications at an affordable price.

  25. Should we use BellHawk Online or rent BellHawk and MilramX for installation on our own Windows Server? If you  are a small or medium sized organization without an in-house IT department then you should definitely use BellHawk Online or BellHawk-in-a-Box. If you have an IT department and the need to integrate many custom reports into BellHawk, or closely integrate the tracking software with other on-site systems,  or have specific IT requirements, such as for security, then you should consider renting  licenses to use the  software  for installation on your own Windows Server.  In either case, we usually recommend that clients start out by using our BellHawk Online shared hosting service in the Cloud to run their private BellHawk website and database as part of a Pilot installation.

  26. Do we save money by renting the KnarrTek DSS software rather than using it on servers managed by KnarrTek? KnarrTek provides a free shared hosting service, at a number of secure data centers, on which smaller manufacturers and distributors can run their version of the BellHawk software, to which they have purchased a subscription. This is limited to users with less than 1,000 active work orders or 10,000 active containers and serialized items being tracked to make sure that any one client does not "hog" the shared server and slow-down service for everyone else. Beyond this,  clients can either pay KnarrTek for the use of a dedicated managed server in the Cloud, use BellHawk-in-a-Box or provide their own Windows server.  In all cases the cost of the software subscription or rental is essentially the same.

  27. We are a large organization with our own IT staff. We need sophisticated real-time operations tracking and management capabilities. Can we save time and money by purchasing a source-code license to use the BellHawk and MilramX software platforms as the basis of implementing our own Decision Support System? Yes, you can purchase a source code license to use the BellHawk and MilramX  software platforms through KnarrTek or one of its partners.

  28. Can BellHawk Exchange Data with my ERP or Accounting System? Yes through the DEX interface or the ICOM system.

  29. Can BellHawk import data from my CAD system? BellHawk can import files in .CSV or Excel formats from a variety of CAD systems through the DEX interface. Alternately custom interfaces can be implemented.

  30. If we start using BellHawk Online on a subscription basis, can we transition to running BellHawk  on our own Windows Server? Yes, each BellHawk Online client gets their own website and database that can easily be transitioned, in future, to use their own server.

  31. How reliable is the BellHawk Online Service? BellHawk Online is run at a secure data center in the USA which has a very high uptime. We also take precautions, such as taking nightly backups of each client's data and storing this in the Cloud so as to facilitate rapid disaster recovery. This is not suitable, however, for situations where automatic hot-swapping is required to ensure continuous, uninterrupted  operation of the system. In such cases, clients should install the KnarrTek software in their own data center and or use a highly reliable BellHawk-in-a-Box configuration.

  32. What if the Internet goes down and we depend on BellHawk Online? This is always a risk factor, especially if the Internet is accessed over a cable strung on utility poles. But often, the same poles carry the electricity to the plant or warehouse. If a pole comes down or a tree falls over the wires both go out, and with it the operation of the plant. As a result, the risk has not been increased by using the Internet to manage plant operations. We do however, recommend using BellHawk-in-a-Box  to mitigate this risk.

  33. Can you customize BellHawk for our specific requirements? This is typically done by the technical staff of KnarrTek and its partners. Except in simple cases, these customizations start with a design phase to clearly document the changes requested and to provide an accurate estimate of the cost

  34. What if we want to develop our own custom reports from the BellHawk data? We recommend using the DEX interface to automatically extract the needed data from the BellHawk database. Custom reports can then be created using tools such as Excel, Access, Crystal Reports, and SSRS using data from tables in the DEX database. Alternately custom reports can be produced from the databases containing data captured by MilramX.

  35. Do you sell the needed equipment or supplies? No. BellHawk works as standard with a wide-range of Android based mobile devices, as well as with Windows, IOS, and Unix based tablets and PCs. It also works with a wide range of barcode scanners and printers. These, along with needed supplies and custom barcode labels, can be ordered from our partners or simply purchased over the Internet. Please ask us for a recommendation.

  36. Do you make on-site sales calls? All client engagements start out remotely with the gathering of information over the Internet. If it is determined that an on-site visit by a member of KnarrTek's staff is needed to gather more information, in order to prepare a systems design and budgetary proposal, then these are carried out as a client-funded design phase. Alternately KnarrTek may refer the opportunity to a local partner who can make an on-site sales call. These days we find that we can save a lot of time and money by using on-line meeting technology. We often start by having a prospective user of BellHawk send us a written description of their tracking issues, along with photos and videos of their operation (under a non-disclosure agreement, if needed). From this we can quickly develop a proposal for a recommended solution to the prospective client's tracking problem, along with an estimated cost.

  37. Do you arrange for visits to other users of the BellHawk software so we can see it in operation? Regretfully no. Our clients are all way too busy running their own businesses to host site visits. Many also have health and security concerns about hosting visitors. We provide an extensive set of training materials on-line for prospective clients to educate themselves. Also, we find that clients  learn far more by participating in the implementation of a Pilot system with their own data than they would though visits to another organization's plant or warehouse.

  38. Do you provide lists of References? No, we jealously guard our clients' privacy.  But, where appropriate, once a prospective user of our software has decided that BellHawk is an appropriate solution for them and is simply doing final due diligence, we can arrange a telephone call with an existing user of the KnarrTek software for an exchange of information.

  39. Do You Offer Free Trials of Your Software? No but we do offer the ability to setup and run a Pilot installation on BellHawk Online provided the client pays for all the needed support services to assist them to get the Pilot up and running.

  40. Do you provide demonstrations of your software with our data?  Generally no. Setting up this data is often time consuming, which is why recommend Pilot installations, so prospective clients can  test the system with their own data.

  41. Can we use KnarrTek's BellHawk software to just track operations in one limited area of our facility or do we need to deploy it to the whole plant at the same time? We encourage our clients to start in one area, to solve an immediately pressing problem. Then clients can incrementally expand their use of BellHawk  to cover other areas as they gain experience with using the capabilities of BellHawk.

  42. Do I need to purchase a barcode printer to use BellHawk? No BellHawk prints its barcoded documents on an office printer and also uses pre-printed rolls of "license-plate" tracking barcodes to track containers of material.

  43. What if I need BellHawk  to print custom barcode labels on demand? We recommend using the BellHawk TAG software, running on a Windows Workstation or BellHawk-in-a-Box in each facility, to ensure high speed printing on barcode label printers in that facility.

  44. What if I need to integrate with weighing scales? We recommend using the BellHawk  Weighing Scale Interface software running on a Windows PC to interface between a local weighing scale, connected to the PC,  and BellHawk-in-a-Box.

  45. Do you support the use of RFID to track materials? Yes, our TAG software can encode combination barcode labels and RFID tags which can then be tracked by our RFID portal software. Typically we perform such projects in collaboration with partners who are experts in supplying and setting up the RFID equipment.

  46. How easy is it to configure BellHawk to the specific needs of my organization? BellHawk uses a rules-based engine that incorporates industry best practices. Clients can set their own parameters to these rules (using Excel imports) but cannot change the underlying rules. These rules can, however, be customized by the staff of KnarrTek if needed.

  47. How do I contact an expert at KnarrTek for help with my inventory and operations tracking and management problem? Please click on the [Contact Us] button below and send us your contact information along with a description of the problem you are trying to solve. We will then set up an on-line meeting with one of our experts to see if we can help. If not, then we can often refer you to someone who can.


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